CIAA Fans Get the Best of Both Worlds in Semi-Finals: A Blowout and an Overtime Thriller

Livingstone College to Debut in Championship Against Shaw University

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — CIAA fans got their money’s worth as Livingstone College defeated Fayetteville State University 81-71 during the semi-finals at the Time Warner Cable Arena last night. The win marks the first time in the history of Livingstone basketball that it will be making an appearance in the CIAA Tournament Championship game.

The two lower bracket dark horses went back and forth for the entire first half, with FSU going up by three or four points before LC came back and tied it every single time. LC went up by four following a dunk by Darius Cox with 34 seconds left. FSU’s Andre Best hit one of two free throws the next time down the floor and, with the final shot of the half, Jarrick Jones of FSU brought the Broncos to within one at halftime, LC leading 37-36.

The game became a defensive battle between both squads, as neither team broke 25 points in the second half.

With Livingstone up by two with 29 seconds left, FSU’s Sheldonte’ Fields heads to the free throw line for a chance to tie the game. Fields hits one of two free throws and LC hustles down the court on a fast break. LC’s Tyrone Jackson, thinking he has an uncontested layup, goes up and is blocked from behind by Fields. FSU’s Tim Plummer snags the defensive board and advances the ball for a 30-second FSU timeout.

In the ensuing play, Plummer drives the lane and is fouled by LC’s Tyler Johnson, giving Plummer the opportunity to hit the game-winning free throws with only 2 seconds left. Plummer hits the first but missed the second and on adesperation three, FSU’s Seth Hawkins misses, sending the game into overtime, the first of this year’s tournament.

In overtime, Livingstone College dominates, scoring 22 points in five minutes and finishing the game with an 81-71 victory.

Darius Cox led the Livingstone Blue Bears with a game-high 21 points and 10 rebounds.

FSU’s Tim Plummer was the leading scorer for his team with 14 points and 12 rebounds. While his teammate Sidney Evans, who hit the game-winning shot to catapult the Broncos to the semi-finals, finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Shaw University 82, Johnson C. Smith University 69

The semi-finals began last night with a surprising appearance by Johnson C. Smith University, taking on Shaw University. The atmosphere was electric as both bands rocked the Time Warner Cable Arena, and both cheerleading teams shimmied and popped to the baseline beat.

The game remained close for the first seven minutes of the half with each team matching one another bucket for bucket, giving the underdog JCSU Golden Bulls fans something to cheer about. However, Shaw University would pull away in the final 13 minutes, finishing the half on a 30-15 run, going to the locker room up 15, 45-30. SU outscored JCSU 34-14 in the paint in the first half, finishing with 60 points in the paint for the game, as opposed to JCSU’s 28.

JCSU could do little in terms of making a run in the second half, as SU continued to pound the ball in the paint and maintain its lead, winning by 13 points with a final score of 82-69.

Devon McLendon led the way for SU with 23 points and 8 rebounds while his teammate Raheem Smith finished with 21 points and 7 bounds.

Earl Jackson, Travis Parks and Antwan Wilkerson all finished with 13 points for JCSU.

The finals begin at 8 p.m. Saturday with Shaw University vs. Livingstone College.